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Sowing the Seeds of Planets?


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This artist's concept shows microscopic crystals in the dusty disk surrounding a brown dwarf, or "failed star." The crystals, made up of a green mineral found on Earth called olivine, are thought to help seed the formation of planets. NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope detected the tiny crystals circling around five brown dwarfs, the cooler and smaller cousins of stars. Though crystallized minerals have been seen in space before -- in comets and around other stars -- the discovery represents the first time the little gem-like particles have been spotted around confirmed brown dwarfs. Astronomers believe planets form out of disks of dust that circle young brown dwarfs and stars. Over time, the various minerals making up the disks crystallize and begin to clump together. Eventually, the clumps collide and stick, building up mass like snowmen until planets are born.


Mediatype image
Creator NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle (SSC)
Date 0000
Relation NASA's Spitzer Finds Failed Stars May Succeed in Planet Business [ http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu/Media/releases/ssc2005-21/release.shtml ]
Insightuid nasaNAS~12~12~64307~168783
Source http://sscws1.ipac.caltech.edu/Imagegallery/image.php?image_name=ssc2005-21b
What Earth
What Spitzer Space Telescope
What COMETS
What Discovery
Identifier SPITZ-ssc2005-21b
Addeddate 2009-10-06 03:53:18
Publicdate 2009-10-06 06:16:19

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BonnieReal
on 10/6/2009
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